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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Twelve Houses of the Zodiac Reading: Part 2

The Twelve Houses of the Zodiac Tarot Spread

Excerpted from
Tarot Awareness: Exploring the Spiritual Path
by Stephen Walter Sterling 

I recently came across the Twelve Houses of the Zodiac Spread by Stephen Walter Sterling on line, and I loved the way each house/sign was described in the positional definitions. This spread forms a pattern resembling the astrological birth chart, beginning with Aries and ending with Pisces.

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to do the spread in four “installments.” Part 1 included Houses 1-4. Click _HERE_ to read.

Part 2 includes Houses 5-8. I am using Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela and Joyce Eakins (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

(5) The House of Persona, Leo (Fire): What is your outer self like, the personality that you present to the world? How do you express yourself? Do you face life with courage, with flair?

SIX OF WIND: Clarity (Mercury in Aquarius) / Traditional Name: 6 of Swords
The qualities of Aquarius and Mercury (the mind) suggest that my outer self (the personality I present to the world) is, in many ways, that of an intelligent and free-spirited sort of person with the ability to detach that can cause me to come across as being “aloof” or “distant.” In my birth chart, I actually have Mars in Aquarius in the Fifth House (the house I am currently talking about in this reading). From an elemental perspective, this is a combination of Fire (Leo) and Air (Aquarius). Fire and Air are mutually supportive and both are “active” elements, representing forward motion and getting things done.

(6) The House of Detail, Virgo (Earth): Is your attention to priority reasonable and productive? Are you well organized? Are you being of service?

NINE OF WIND: The Screen (Mars in Gemini) / Traditional Name: 9 of Swords
This card typically refers to feelings of being threatened or in danger. Virgo (which happens to be my rising sign) is known for being worried or anxious about things, perhaps overly focused on details. Gemini is an Air sign ruled by Mercury (the mind, thoughts, perceptions), so these fears may or may not be based in reality. If we think about this type of energy in the Sixth House, we can see where it might be disruptive or interfere with my ability to pay attention to detail, to be organized and productive, and could even affect my willingness or ability to be “of service” to others. Mars/Gemini energy can really rock Virgo’s “down-to-earth” boat.

(7) The House of Balance, Libra (Air): Do the activities of your life add to your peace of mind? Is your distribution of energy well proportioned?

Linked with the Fire sign Aries, The Emperor is “swift, male, creative energy” with “clear sight and presence of mind” and “exceedingly well organized.” (from Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins, Ph.D. / Weiser). This energy suggests that the activities of my life contribute to a sense of stability and security, a sense that things are more or less “under my control” as I “oversee my kingdom.”  One would expect The Emperor’s energy to be “well proportioned.” Again we have the combination of Fire and Air, indicating forward progress and achievement.

(8) The House of Intensity, Scorpio (Water): What is it that you feel strongly about? How do you regenerate your emotions, change how you view your inner atmosphere?

FOUR OF WIND: Mastery (Jupiter in Libra) / Traditional Name: 4 of Swords
Interesting to see this somewhat “stagnant” energy appear in “The House of Intensity.” Pamela Eakins describes the Four of Wind as “a holding pattern,” “resting on your laurels.” We are dealing with the Air sign Libra here, a sign known for being indecisive (mostly because Libra craves harmony and dreads conflict, so it can be difficult to make decisions). One way of interpreting the idea of “Mastery” in “The House of Intensity,” is to consider that perhaps I am at a place “between passions,” so to speak. I have indulged in various things that regenerate my emotions and in a sense, have reached a plateau in those areas. The intensity, therefore, is bound to have faded a bit, creating a bit of a lull.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Twelve Houses of the Zodiac Reading: Part 1

The Twelve Houses of the Zodiac Tarot Spread

Excerpted from
Tarot Awareness: Exploring the Spiritual Path
by Stephen Walter Sterling
(Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.)

I recently came across the Twelve Houses of the Zodiac Spread by Stephen Walter Sterling on line, and I loved the way each house/sign was described in the positional definitions. This spread forms a pattern resembling the astrological birth chart, beginning with Aries and ending with Pisces.

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to do the spread in four “installments.” Part 1 will include Houses 1-4. I am using Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela and Joyce Eakins (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

(1) The House of Aspirations, Aries (Fire): Attitude toward reaching a goal, what you intend to accomplish, and the level of your enthusiasm. 

FIRE BROTHER: Sun Warrior (Cancer-Leo) / Traditional Name: Knight of Wands
Certainly apropos for this First House (Aries) position, Fire Brother exhibits strength, swiftness, brilliance, and agility. Clever and spontaneous, he can also be irrational and impulsive. With my Sun in the Fire sign Sagittarius, I relate well to this energy as I enthusiastically pursue my goals. I need to guard against impulsive behavior based on sudden bursts of optimism and enthusiasm.

(2) The House of Security, Taurus (Earth): Attitude toward material gain. Are you at peace with your resources?

FIVE OF WATER: Spilling (Mars in Scorpio) / Traditional Name: 5 of Cups
Known as a card of disappointment, regret, and frustration, the Five of Water often admonishes us not to “cry over spilt milk.” If we focus on what we have lost or perhaps never had (three spilled, empty cups), we cannot see that there are still avenues and opportunities and resources available to us. A deeper level of understanding is needed so that we can see above and beyond our disappointments, perceived failures, and deficits.

It is interesting to note that the planet Mars is the traditional ruler of the sign Scorpio. Scorpio and its modern ruling planet, Pluto, both represent death and decay (8th house).This tells us that even when expectations are not met, there is still strength available and an opportunity to “power through” and rise above.

(3) The House of Thought, Gemini (Air): How well you communicate your ideas, your needs, and your creative self. Learning and speaking abilities.

TWO OF WIND: The Crossing (Moon in Libra) / Traditional Name: 2 of Swords
Here we have a second instance of “matching elemental attributions,” with the positional definition being Gemini (an Air sign) and the card representing Libra (another Air sign). Libra represents a desire for peace and harmony as well as indecision. The Moon represents emotions and the subconscious.

Although my Sun sign, Sagittarius, is known for being brutally frank, the appearance of this card in the house of communication suggests that deep down, I have a strong desire for my communication and expressions of creativity to be peaceful and harmonious – in other words, I really would rather not ruffle feathers, offend, or start arguments. At times, this can make it hard for me to make a choice or decision, since I want everything to remain harmonious.

(4) The House of Emotion, Cancer (Water): The nature of your home environment. What are the areas of your life that need nurturing? Do you have a reasonable understanding of your feelings? (Water)

THE UNIVERSE (Saturn) / Traditional Name: The World
As the final card of the Major Arcana, The Universe typically represents closing a circle, completing a lesson or a journey. With The Universe card, we have finished what we started; we have seen our purpose through to the end.

In my birth chart, the 4th House is where the Sun resides, an indication that my “home” plays a significant role in who and what I am as an individual. Another interesting connection with my birth chart is the fact that in that chart, Saturn is in my First House (House of Self).

The planet Saturn, sometimes called the planet of “lessons and limitations,” is known as a stern taskmaster who constantly turns our attention to reality, duties, and obligations. Position 4 in this spread mentions home environment, nurturing, and understanding one’s feelings. These are things I may not think I need to take responsibility for, but Saturn holds a different view.

In some ways, I have come full circle. As a child growing up, I was fortunate to have a stable home life. I wanted for nothing, and I had a lot of time to pursue creative activities such as writing and music. Then came marriage, motherhood, and a long period when I worked in an office setting 8 hours a day, doing work that was not very fulfilling. Now, I am again in a stable, pleasant home environment, free to express my creativity and imagination in satisfying “work.”

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What actions should I take?

A sample reading using 
The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt
(Llewellyn Publications)

QUESTION: “What actions should I take 
to develop my relationship with a loved one?” 




Animals Divine Tarot
Position 1. This is what you need to know. 


On this card, Spider Woman weaves her web. As creator and goddess of many Native American traditions, she has the ability to expose truth despite our possible resistance to acknowledging it. The spider is viewed as a teacher, guide, and weaver of destiny. What you need to know is that life is continuous and ever-evolving. Changes are inevitable. Look at your current situation. Make sure you do not lose sight of your journey’s purpose or get caught in a web of illusion that will hinder progress.

Animals Divine Tarot
Position 2. This is what you need to do.


On this card, a Toad proudly displays three crystal-topped Wands, representing the components of creative energy. What you need to do is use your creative energy to integrate old and new ideas, past influences and fresh perspectives. The Toad is an adaptive creature, in harmony with its environment. Your ability or inability to adapt to the changes revealed in Position 1 may promote or hinder the development of a relationship.

Animals Divine Tarot
Position 3. This is what you need to avoid.

TEN CUPS (Water)

You need to avoid letting your imagination prematurely create a “happy ever after” scenario. Your feelings for this person seem to be very strong, but trying to leap too far too fast is likely to prove counterproductive. The Whales shown on this card are masters of the sea, which represents levels of consciousness as well as emotion, intuition, and spirituality. They are ancient creatures whose powerful, rhythmic movements remind us that the achievement of goals and dreams takes time and dedication.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

What should I look for in the near future?

A sample reading using Ancestral Path Tarot
by Julia Cuccia-Watts
(U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

What should I look for in the near future?




Ancestral Path Tarot
Position 1. Situation: EIGHT OF CUPS

On this card, King Arthur deliberately turns away from everything important to him up to this point. His successes in life seem hollow to him, and he feels drawn to a spiritual quest. This card implies that you are currently dissatisfied with something in your life and would like to make a change or head in a new direction. You have reached a plateau and are contemplating consciously giving something up in return for something else that you hope will be more fulfilling. The suit of Cups is associated with the element Water (emotion, relationships).

Ancestral Path Tarot

Position 2. Challenge: THREE OF SWORDS

On this card, a Samurai knight gallops off to war in full battle regalia. Family and friends witness his departure. The challenge implied by this card involves the sorrow of separation, especially from family and relatives. The suit of Swords is associated with the element Air (thoughts, communication, struggles). There is a sense that you will have to release certain expectations about other people as well as acknowledging your own less-than-successful experiences and laying them to rest. If this is too difficult for you or if you choose not to try, it will be much harder to take the new direction suggested by the Eight of Cups.

Ancestral Path Tarot

Position 3. Opportunity: THE EMPRESS

On this card, a woman sits on a throne, reclining against a crimson cushion. She is obviously pregnant. As Key 3 of the Major Arcana, The Empress has a commanding presence in this spread. Rather than indicating a literal, physical “pregnancy,” The Empress is usually about creativity and “fertility” from the standpoint of being productive in any endeavor. You have an opportunity to create an abundant life filled with new growth and a sense of well-being. Associated with the element Earth, The Empress represents the physical, material world and practicality -- the importance of grounding our dreams and schemes in reality in order to receive tangible results.

The essence of the number 3 is expansion, and therein lies both your challenge (3 of Swords) and opportunity (Key 3, The Empress). The number 8 (8 of Cups) represents both stability and stagnation. It can be very hard to exchange the known for the unknown, even when we are dissatisfied with the known. The cards in this reading indicate great potential for some positive changes in your life.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Should I stay or should I go?

A sample reading using The Gill Tarot
by Elizabeth Josephine Gill
(U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)

Question: What should I do about my relationship with my husband? Should I stay or should I go?

Response to the Seeker: Only you can answer a question as important as this one. However, the tarot can assist you in looking at this situation and can give you helpful information with which to make this decision. A Tarot reading is like a snapshot of what your life looks like at the time of the reading. The cards can give you a picture of unseen influences, patterns of behavior, obstacles, and strengths. My goal as a Tarot reader is to allow you to take responsibility for your own decisions and actions, and to act according to your own conscience for the greater good of all concerned.

The Reading: Below are the positional definitions I used, the cards I drew into those positions, and my interpretations. I laid the cards out like this:     


The Gill Tarot
Position 1. This is how staying could affect you

ACE OF SWORDS (Air / Energy) -- If you stay, be prepared to embrace a new way of thinking and/or communicating. Aces represent new beginnings in Tarot, and the suit of Swords is the suit of  Air (thoughts, intellect, communication). Air is also associated with disharmony, tension, being overwhelmed or befuddled, and behaving in a manner that is either too harsh or too weak. The bottom line is: If you stay in this marriage, you have work to do.

The Gill Tarot
Position 2. This is how leaving could affect you

SIX OF DISCS (Earth / Well-Being) -- On this card we see six discs arranged around a light in the formation of a circle. There is a sense of contentment and comfort, particularly at an everyday, material or physical level (Discs). This card suggests that leaving is likely to give you this sense of well-being, at least at first. It may seem like “the easy way out.” However, the Six of Discs also advises us that our state of contentment cannot be guaranteed to last. The expression “This too shall pass” applies not only to times of stress or difficulty but to periods in our life where we feel we finally have things the way we want them. If you are thinking that leaving will solve all your problems, you may want to think again.

The Gill Tarot
Position 3. This is what you need to focus on within yourself in making this important decision

EMPEROR (Fire / Key 4) -- The Emperor is very strong in this spread, indicating the importance of focusing on The Emperor’s most positive qualities within yourself, such as conscious control, organization, vigilance, good judgment, and a willingness to come to grips with things in a bold, forthright manner. The element Fire is associated with passion, action, confidence, assertiveness, and making one’s way in the world – as well as struggles, victories, and defeats. No matter whether you decide to stay or leave, you will need to stand firmly on your own two feet, use your head, and meet whatever challenges arise with courage.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Reading with the Wild Unknown Tarot

A new student of mine recently mentioned that The Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans (HarperElixer) is her favorite Tarot deck. That reminded me that I haven’t read with that deck for quite some time, so today I’m doing a 3-card reading with it. (The key words following the card titles are provided in the guidebook for the deck.)

(1) What is influencing me the most right now?

THE HIGH PRIESTESS / Key 2 (Mystery, Psychic Wisdom)

This is an influence I can readily accept and appreciate. I do have a complex, powerful inner life that involves intuition and dreams, along with an awareness and appreciation of mystery. With this influence, I need to know that I have heightened abilities to look past the obvious, to see into secret or hidden areas or aspects of a situation. The “voice from within” has much to tell me if I am listening.

(2) What do I need more of in my life?

NINE OF WANDS (Strength, Stamina, Confidence)

On this card, a flight of steps leads upward towards the moon. With the Nine, I am near the top, in the final stretch towards a goal or desired outcome. I may feel weary, doubtful, or even fearful, but this is not the time to give in or give up. Just a few more steps and I’ll be there. I like the fact that the crescent moon appears at the top of this card like it does in The High Priestess card.

(3) What do I need less of in my life?

FIVE OF CUPS (Grief, Disappointment)

I guess we could all use less “grief and disappointment” in our lives. Although I cannot control every detail of what happens in my life, this card tells me to acknowledge that there will be disappointment or even regret, but that what I do with that or what I do going forward is important. I need to focus on the negatives less and explore what I can actually do or control to make things better. Is my disappointment really due to someone else’s flaws and failures, or are my expectations simply too high?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday 2019

It's Easter Sunday! Today's Cards and Quotes features Judgement from The Celtic Tarot by Helena Paterson, Illustrated by Courney Davis (Aquarian).

The Celtic Tarot (Paterson/Davis - Aquarian)

"On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer."
~ Douglas Horton (1891-1968)
American Protestant clergyman and academic leader

Monday, April 8, 2019

Listen to the Animals

For this Tarot Notes feature, I pull one card each week from a different animal-themed deck to represent an important message from that animal.

If you are interested in finding out who your own Animal Guides are, you can get an Animal Guides Reading through my _Etsy shop_ or my _Web Site_.

This week my deck is Dawn Brunke's Animal Wisdom Tarot, illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books). To read my review of this deck, click _HERE_.

The LLAMA has come forward.

The Animal Wisdom Tarot

This card is subtitled "Seeker of Fossils." In The Animal Wisdom Tarot, this sweet child is comparable to the traditional Knight of Pentacles and is given the elemental associations Air of Earth. Dawn Brunke writes that this "suggests a grounded ability to understand abstract, metaphysical concepts," helping us to "stay centered and connected even as our minds open and our thoughts roam far." I love that idea!

Qualities assigned to this card (as we might expect from the Knight of Pentacles) are "steady, patient, practical, receptive."

In South America, llamas work as pack animals and are used for food. I recently attended an animal fiber event here in the U.S. where people exhibited llamas and alpacas, and were awarded ribbons like horses or dogs. Here are some photos I took of some of the llamas.


And here is an _article_ about the popularity of llamas as pets:

The message of the llama in this deck is: "Center your body; free your mind."

Sound advice, I think!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

For the Spring Equinox: A Reading with the Seasons Layout

The Runic Tarot

In celebration of the Spring Equinox, I am using my Runic Tarot by Caroline Smith and John Astrop (St. Martin’s Griffin) and The Seasons Layout provided in the guidebook that accompanies that deck.

My question is, “What do I need to understand about my mother’s adjustment to her new residence?”

For this layout, four cards are drawn to represent:
(1) Spring: the question’s starting point
(2) Summer: flowering or possibilities
(3) Autumn: appearance of fruits – the outcome
(4) Winter: benefits gained

The positions are arranged as if on a zodiac wheel:


My reading:

(1) Spring: the question’s starting point
Imbolc / 3 / INSIGHT

This card is linked with the third week of spring. Linked with the signs Aquarius and Gemini (3rd House), it points to shared thoughts, talking, communication, perceiving, and gathering information. Certainly all of those things have been going on in our attempt to get my 97-year-old mother moved into an assisted living facility where she will be safe and cared for. Interestingly, my husband is a Gemini and my sister is an Aquarius.

(2) Summer: flowering or possibilities
Samhain / 10 / LAW, RULES

Lots of Capricorn (10th House) linked with this card, which is also linked to the second week of January, the season Winter, and the element Air. This card points to adapting to rules as well as making sure things are fair and just. Learning, understanding, and abiding by rules is an important factor in any long-term care facility. My sun is in the Sagittarius/Capricorn cusp.

(3) Autumn: appearance of fruits – the outcome

The rune Ur is featured on this card, which is linked to the energy of both Aries and Taurus. The card represents a time of “great energy and health,” which is an excellent outcome to look forward to.

(4) Winter: benefits gained
Samhain / 4 / TRAVEL, FAMILY

Linked with Winter and the element Air, this card represents the 4th week of November and the zodiac signs Sagittarius and Cancer (4th House). I am pretty sure my mother will not be traveling, but there is the potential for a relationship with someone from “abroad” or perhaps a visit from relatives. These benefits are gained in part because of the “great energy and health” indicated by Card 3. Interestingly, my Sun sign is Sagittarius.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Animal Tarot Time: THE HERMIT

For this series, I am exploring the choices of animals made by various deck creators to correspond to traditional Tarot cards. My initial goal is to get through the Major Arcana using cards from seven different decks: 
  • Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)
  • The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)
  • The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)
  • The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)
  • The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)
  • The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)
  • Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

 To read my previous posts in this series, enter “Animal Tarot Time” in the search field on the main page of the blog or scroll down and click on Animal Tarot Time under CATEGORIES.

Let’s look at how THE HERMIT is portrayed in seven different animal decks.

Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)

FIREFLY (“Spiritual enlightenment. The spark of inspiration. The light within. Being a light for others. Believing in the magic of life.”)

The guidebook that accompanies this deck describes the firefly as “representing the light within and flashes of great spiritual insight and inspiration,” making it an excellent candidate to play the role of The Hermit. We often focus on the idea of solitude and introspection when we discuss The Hermit, but equally important is The Hermit’s willingness and ability to “hold up his lamp” to guide others through the darkness. On the card, fireflies have gathered “in great number in order to show you just how magical life can be.”

The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)

MANTIS (“Sometimes waiting is the best way. Sometimes removing yourself, if only for a short period of time, is the best way. Then we turn and head to the light and step into its brilliance…”)

On this card, The Hermit stands in the light, holding the sun between his antennae. Knowing that the light (sun) will always rise again, we can look forward to the light’s return after time spent alone in darkness. Leeza Robertson mentions a story told by the Bushmen of the Kalahari, in which the Mantis puts himself to sleep in order to dream a solution to a situation or problem. By the same token, we sometimes need to allow ourselves the time and space to contemplate something so we can approach it with a clear head.

The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)

OWL (Keeper of the Light): “Peer deep; find illumination within.”

Brunke’s keywords for this card are “solitude, introspection, enlightenment, wisdom.” The owl’s ability to see in the dark creates a meaningful link between this creature and The Hermit, who holds his lantern aloft to help guide others. Owls are solitary birds – no noisy flock for them! They have long served as symbols for wisdom and the inner realms of our psyche. Like The Hermit, the Owl encourages us to explore the “darkness within” as well as the outer landscape.

The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)

OWL: “Silent Wisdom, Vision, and Guidance”

Ted Andrews refers to the Owl as a “creature of the night,” with night symbolizing the “darkness within – the places where great secrets and great treasures are hidden.” The fact that owls fly silently reminds us that there are times when we benefit from being silent and introspective or from being silent while listening to what is being said around us. Owls have acute hearing as well as keen vision both at night and during the day.

The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)

THE HERMIT / Cernunnos: time to reflect, contemplation, solitude

Cernunnos was a Celtic god also known as “the horned god.” He was typically shown with all kinds of forest animals, each of which symbolized some aspect of Celtic power. Hunt writes that when The Hermit (Cernunnos) appears, it is a reminder to “take the time to engage in quiet reflection… to learn more about yourself… to become more in tune with nature.” The goal is to “become more acquainted with a deeper aspect of your inner being.”

The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)

RED PANDA: “peace, knowledge, contemplation, solitude, discovery, adaption”

Of this card, Joanna Cheung writes: “He is in search of introspection, finding solace in solitude, away from society, away from culture, order, and custom as he travels on a journey of personal discovery.”

A quick internet search reveals that red pandas are solitary except during the breeding season. While it is fun to see this unusual choice for The Hermit, I have to say I don’t find much about the red panda that makes it a great choice for this card.

Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

BLACK BEAR: “wisdom, spiritual search; abandonment, solitude, hidden enemies”

I think the black bear is a really great representative of aspect of The Hermit that deals with withdrawing, solitude, and turning inward, given that bears typically hibernate for several months during the winter.  Black bears tend to be solitary animals, with the exception of mothers and cubs.

To summarize, we have:
Firefly – 1
Mantis – 1
Owl – 2
Cernunnos – 1
Red Panda – 1
Black Bear – 1

In a way, I am a bit surprised that no one chose the hermit crab, but in any case, all of these are interesting and creative choices. Personally, I think I am leaning towards the Owl as the best choice.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Lovers Revisited

This "reprint" from my "Journey Through My Tarot Decks" series seems like a good one for today, which is, of course, Valentine's Day.


In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. This week's card is The Lovers from Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall.

I love cats, and I was always drawn to this deck when I saw it in shops or on line. Even so, I didn't pick it up right away. To me, there was just something "creepy" about some of the images. However, over time, the deck convinced me that we really should be together.

Tarot of the Cat People is based on a fictional world called the Outer Regions, created by artist Karen Kuykendall (1928-1998). Renowned science-fiction writer Andre Norton wrote a two-part fantasy novel based on Kuykendall‛s world – Mark of the Cat / Year of the Rat -- which I highly recommend.

In Kuykendall‛s tarot deck, the five kingdoms of the Outer Regions correspond with the Major Arcana and the four suits of the Minor Arcana. Throughout the Outer Regions, cats are loved, honored and even obeyed (just like at my house!).

In Tarot of the Cat People the Major Arcana cards belong to Vapala (Va-PAH-la), The Diamond Kingdom. This is the kingdom of the Sky People. Associated colors are sparkling whites and pastels. Earth equivalents are the Grand Canyon, Arizona, and Kenya. The people of Vapala are "formal, proud, regal ceremonious, snobbish, reserved, subtle, conservative, conformist, class-conscious, austere." Prosperous, stable, and technologically advanced, The Diamond Kingdom produces the most renowned philosophers and scholars of the Outer Regions.

Kuykendall views the Major Arcana as "the synthesis of all the cards in the deck." On Trump Six, we see lovers "enveloped in a single, all-embracing drape, symbolic of a union and harmony that is both physical and mental. The drape is loose and carefree. . . It has a circle pattern, symbolic of eternity." (Kuykendall) At the feet of the human lovers, their companion cats "echo their feelings."

The DMs (divinatory meanings) provided by Kuykendall include "Love. Beauty. Perfection. Harmony. Confidence. Trust. Honor. Beginning of a possible romance. . . The necessity of testing or of subjecting to trial." Reversed, the card can suggest "Failure to meet the test. Unreliability. Separation. Frustration in love and marriage. Interference by others. Fickleness. Untrustworthiness. Unwise plans."

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Sherlock Holmes Card of the Day:The Hierophant (revisited)

Today I'm revisiting a long-ago "Card of the Day" from The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews and Wil Kinghan (Sterling Ethos).


The Sherlock Holmes Tarot (Sterling Ethos)

I am a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories by A. Conan Doyle, but in  this deck, The Hierophant is linked with The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, a novel written by American writer Nicholas Meyer in 1974. Published as a "lost manuscript" of the late Dr. John H. Watson, the novel focuses on Sherlock Holmes’ recovery from his addiction to cocaine. The title of the novel (and the card) is a reference to Holmes’ use of the drug in a seven-per-cent solution.

Keys for this card, upright, are: “revelation, inspiration, insight, tradition, preservation of heritage, initiation, advice or counsel, transformation of the mundane into the spiritual.” Reversed meanings: “rigidity, giving away too much, depending on institutional ways.”

The book that accompanies this deck also provides interpretations for each card under the headings “The Game” and “The Fog.” The former elaborates on the upright keys, while the latter expands on reversed meanings. An example from “The Game” for The Hierophant: “By transforming the mundane into the mystical, you suggest new ways to live.” An example from “The Fog”: “Be careful of seeming too self-important.”

In the book accompanying The Sherlock Holmes Tarot, the creators of the deck write: “While we in no way condone the use of such stimulants, the effect of the drug upon Holmes is a perfect metaphor for the opening of the consciousness to deeper and inner levels offered by the Hierophant.”

As the Card of the Day, The Hierophant may be alerting me to an opportunity to use my insights to inspire others, to transform the mundane into the mystical, or to mentor someone who is young or inexperienced. I am cautioned to be careful that I don’t attach too much importance to myself, that I avoid getting bogged down in rigid procedures, and that I refrain from projecting my ideas onto others. I need to find a way to preserve and honor tradition or heritage without being a slave to them.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Reincarnation Reading

Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, I am willing to bet that you at least find the concept interesting, even fascinating. I think the perfect deck to use in an exploration of this theme is the Tarot of Reincarnation, designed by Massimiliano Filadoro (Lo Scarabeo).

Let’s get personal. I am going to ask this wonderful deck three important questions about myself: What was I in a past life? What am I now? What might I be in a future life?

Ready? Here we go!

What was I in a past life?

HAWK / Knave of Spades (Swords)

I was, perhaps, an actual hawk (very cool) or perhaps a human being who was able to identify his objectives, made quick decisions, and swiftly pursue those objectives. I may have been somewhat lacking in compassion, but I was also protective and may have had the role of guardian or messenger.

In The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing), the Hawk plays the role of the Knight of Winged Ones (Swords). He notes that hawks “spend three-fourths of their day perched somewhere observing the area around them, searching to detect the subtlest of movements, patiently waiting until the best moment to strike.”

What am I now? 

BEETLE / Two of Clubs (Wands)

I love the description of the card from the Little White Book (LWB): “External provocations that can push us to exaggerated reactions as well as reawaken hidden potential.” Which could mean that I act as an “external provocation” that pushes people “to exaggerated reactions” (oh yes, I can see that) or I am the sort of person who is pushed to exaggerated reactions by external provocations (yes, I can see that, too).

Ted Andrews chose the Beetle for his Seven of Shapeshifters (Cups) card. Andrews notes that the Beetle exhibits the energy of being on the right track, pursuing our goals, making decisions. The front wings on a beetle have thickened into hard covers that protect its underside – so we can also see this insect as an indication of being protected or shielded.

What might I be in a future life? 

DOG / Seven of Diamonds (Pentacles)

When I look at the illustration on this card, I do not see a dog. I see a fox or possibly a coyote. All three are canids, to be sure, but the symbolism is very different for each of them. The LWB states that this is a Dog, however, indicating that I might be either a dog in a future life or a person who exhibits the qualities of a dog: “blind faith in a person or idea, aggressiveness caused by stress” along with, I might add, loyalty, devotion, and companionship. I could be some man’s “best friend.”

As a child, I used to enjoy pretending to be a dog, crawling around the house, barking and panting. When auditions were held for The Wizard of Oz at the Junior Theater Guild, I wanted very much to play Toto. Instead, I was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West – a much meatier role, to be sure, and great fun for me. My point is that although I prefer to live with cats, I am very much drawn to dogs in all shapes and sizes. There is certainly a connection or “spark” that I feel around them. Precognition, perhaps? One never knows.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Animal Tarot Time: JUSTICE

For this series, I am exploring the choices of animals made by various deck creators to correspond to traditional Tarot cards. My initial goal is to get through the Major Arcana using cards from seven different decks:

  • Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)
  • The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)
  • The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)
  • The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)
  • The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)
  • The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)
  • Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

To read my previous posts in this series, enter “Animal Tarot Time” in the search field on the main page of the blog or scroll down and click on Animal Tarot Time under CATEGORIES.

As many of you know, the numbering of the Justice and Strength cards in the Tarot varies, depending on which deck you are using. For this post, I will be viewing Justice as Trump 8. Let’s look at how JUSTICE is portrayed in seven different animal decks.

Animal Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine (Hay House)

(“Fair decisions will be made after all the evidence is reviewed impartially. 
Have compassion for others and try to see all side of a disagreement.”)

In this deck, the Elephant has been chosen to represent standing up for what we believe in as well as fighting for equality and fairness for all. To see this card in a reading suggests that if we are involved in a legal proceeding or situation where a resolution is required, we can be assured that a just decision will be made. Elephants symbolize strength, wisdom, longevity, and prosperity across a wide range of cultures and spiritual systems. It is also seen by many as a symbol of the qualities required for good government, such as dignity, intelligence, and prudence.

The Animal Totem Tarot by Leeza Robertson; illustrated by Eugene Smith (Llewellyn Publications)

(“Balance is not just about being even. Balance is about finding the 
middle path or making it back to one’s center.”)

As you can see, in this deck, Justice is Trump 11. However, to be consistent with the animal symbolism, I will include it here. The red-capped Crane on this card is “standing his ground, wanting others to know that he cannot be swayed from his own mind.” Even as he does this, he keeps his emotions grounded and calm in order to continue to seek a balanced outcome, “a solution for the good of all and harm to none.” Like the Elephant (see description above), the Crane commonly symbolizes wisdom, fidelity, and longevity. Some cultures view the bird negatively (for example, in India, where it represents treachery).

The Animal Wisdom Tarot by Dawn Brunke; illustrated by Ola Liola (CICO Books)

(Bearer of Justice)
“Play fair, love true, live in harmony.”

As you can see, here we have another deck that assigns the number 11 to Justice. Keynotes for this card in this deck are “Balance, Truth, Honor, Integrity.” One argument for equating Justice (as key 11) with “Balance” is that the number 11 card is at the center of the Major Arcana, which consists of 21 Keys (plus The Fool, which is number Zero). Dawn Brunke writes that Justice suggests that “whatever is imbalanced will come to light. This could indicate legal issues, arbitration, or tough times if we ignore the call.” Brunke also notes that this card “advocates alignment between personal and sacred justice…”

The Animal-Wise Tarot by Ted Andrews (Dragonhawk Publishing)

“Ancient Powers of Justice at Work”

Another vote for Justice as Key 11. Oh well! In addition to the qualities I have already mentioned that are associated with the Elephant, Ted Andrews mentions the way a herd of elephants demonstrates “the ideals of true society.” He points to the Elephant’s trunk and its acute sense of small. He writes, “Those for whom Elephant has appeared would do well not to trust what they see, but what smells right – especially where important decisions are concerned.”

The Animals Divine Tarot by Lisa Hunt (Llewellyn Worldwide)

“judgement, balance, legalities, making decisions”

Well, obviously I should have done a quick check of these decks before going with The Animal Tarot Cards designation of Justice as Key 8. It’s Key 11 in The Animals Divine Tarot, and is represented (quite understandably) by Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. She is not an animal, of course, but the animal standing beside her on the card is an Ostrich. An ostrich feather was the attribute of Ma’at, and it was the ostrich’s feather against which the hearts of the dead were weighed to ascertain if they were heavy with sin. One reason for using an ostrich feather was that the feathers are of even length. Also, it didn’t hurt that the Ostrich was (and is) Africa’s largest bird. As with the Elephant, it appears that size does matter when it comes to animals representing the Justice card.

The Animism Tarot by Joanna Cheung (Self-Published)

adaption, objectiveness, awareness, 
compassion, honour, understanding

Of course, Justice is Key 11 in this deck as well. (I am no longer surprised, if I ever was.) The Chimpanzee is an interesting animal to choose for this card. Instead of balanced scales, we see what appear to be two identical chimpanzees facing each other, touching palms. The image does suggest the idea of balance, equal sides, cooperation, and harmony. Joanna Cheung writes that this card can be about “a time to right wrongs, a time for change and balance.”

Tarot of the Animal Lords with artwork by Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)

“agreement, order; lack of freedom, prejudices and misconduct”

As in the Animal Tarot Cards deck, Justice is Key 8 in Lo Scarabeo’s Tarot of the Animal Lords. A female Barn Owl is featured on the card, holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other. This pose mimics the Rider-Waite-Smith card in that respect. The Owl, as most of us know, can symbolize wisdom and knowledge or it can have a sinister, even ferocious nature, as it did in many ancient cultures. Its association with intelligence comes from the Athenians, who made the Owl sacred to their goddess of wisdom and learning.

To summarize, we have:
Elephant – 3
Crane – 1
Ma’at (Ostrich) – 1
Chimpanzee -- 1
Barn Owl – 1

As I thought about the concept of “justice” in the animal world, I decided to do a quick search on line to see what I could find. I came across this _fascinating article_.

The article provides several interesting examples of how various animals have displayed “moral behavior, that they can be compassionate, empathic, altruistic, and fair.” I do lean towards the Elephant for the Justice card, but would love to hear what you think! Here are some photos I have taken of elephants on my travels.

Monday, January 7, 2019

New Year's Resolutions with the Oracle of Visions

For this spread, I am using the Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.) Click HERE to visit Ciro's web site.

Do this more: Goals, Dedication, Process (card 8)

On this card we have a very serious looking alchemist, an appropriate symbol of someone who is “striving to achieve an end goal through study, experimentation, dedication and perseverance.” (Marchetti) I need to be even more dedicated than I already am to the things I want to accomplish, my passions, and my goals.
Do this less: Obsession, Delusion, Self-Interest (card 43)

That makes sense. I wouldn’t say I am really “obsessed” with anything, but I do tend to have a more narrow view than I could, thereby “deluding” myself about some things. When you think about it, being over “self-conscious” is very closely related to being “self-interested.”
Give this freely: Assistance, Help, Support (card 49)

I really love Marchetti’s final comment on this card: “The challenge now is to achieve a balance, to offer help but not reliance.” In other words, figure out ways to support and help someone without causing them to rely on me for “everything.” Perhaps some people thrive on feeling that they are indispensable to someone else, but that’s not for me!

Receive this gladly: Healing, Caring, Friendships (card 47)

On the surface, it seems unlikely that anyone would NOT gladly receive “healing, caring, friendships.” Yet we (or at least I) do resist receiving those gifts at times, either because we want to feel independent and self-sufficient, or we don’t feel we deserve those things, or whatever. Sometimes we need to make a conscious effort to notice and accept what is being offered.

Defend this: Flights of Fancy, Leap of Faith, Taking a Next Step (card 5)

Yes, I will defend attempts I make to step outside the box or take a next step that may seem risky or out of the ordinary. As the guidebook for this deck suggests, however, I can first assess the scenario, the dangers, and prepare. I don’t have to be foolish or careless.

Banish this: Letting Go, Offering a Way Out (card 24)

This is a difficult card to interpret in the position “Banish this.” Is it possible that I need to NOT let something go or NOT offer a way out? I will have to give this some thought.

Be this: Wonder of Creation, Protection, Destiny (card 12)

This card shows a guardian angel witnessing the birth of “the one whose life he will oversee.” Am I to be a guardian angel? Or am I to be the one whose life the guardian angel oversees? Once again, Marchetti’s comment at the end of this card’s description resonates with me: “A grand part of how this life will be lived, and what it will achieve will not be pre-determined by fate alone, but by free will and choice.” Perhaps I need to BE someone who understands and acknowledges the roles played by fate, destiny, AND free will/choice.